"The Battle of Russia," Chapter V of Frank Capra's "Why We Fight"
series, follows the beginning of the end for Adolph Hitler. Part One
shows how the Nazi regime, frustrated by the tenacity of British
resistance, sets its sights on the Soviet Union instead. As it follows
the Nazi march into Russian territory, the film provides a brief summary
of the attempts of foreign powers to invade Russia over the past seven
hundred years. It explains why the country is such a hot prize and why
no army in history ever succeeded in conquering it. Hitler is portrayed
as a fool, his hubris blinding him to the evidence of history. The
film illustrates how the Red Army's method of fighting -- a
scorched-earth strategy and a reliance on guerilla and urban warfare --
was bound to defeat the Nazis as it had defeated every invader before
them. Capra's favorable portrait of the Russians is notable. Released
two years before the start of the Cold War, the film portrays the
Soviets as a diverse and freedom-loving people, in many ways similar to
their then-allies, the people of the United States.